Resilience and long-term outcomes after trauma: An opportunity for early intervention?

Deepika Nehra, Juan P. Herrera-Escobar, Syeda S. Al Rafai, Joaquim Havens, Reza Askari, Stephanie Nitzschke, George Velmahos, George Kasotakis, Karen J. Brasel, Nomi Levy-Carrick, Ali Salim, Adil Haider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND Resilience, or the ability to cope with difficulties, influences an individual's response to life events including unexpected injury. We sought to assess the relationship between patient self-reported resilience traits and functional and psychosocial outcomes 6 months after traumatic injury. METHODS Adult trauma patients 18 years to 64 years of age with moderate to severe injuries (Injury Severity Score, ≥9) admitted to one of three Level I trauma centers between 2015 and 2017 were contacted by phone at 6 months postinjury and asked to complete a validated Trauma Quality of Life (T-QoL) survey and PTSD screen. Patients were classified into "low" and "high" resilience categories. Long-term outcomes were compared between groups. Adjusted logistic regression models were built to determine the association between resilience and each of the long-term outcomes. RESULTS A total of 305 patients completed the 6-month interview. Two hundred four (67%) of the 305 patients were classified as having low resilience. Mean age was 42 ± 14 years, 65% were male, 91% suffering a blunt injury, and average Injury Severity Score was 15.4 ± 7.9. Patients in the low-resilience group had significantly higher odds of functional limitations in activities of daily living (odds ratio [OR], 4.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.48-9.34). In addition, patients in the lower resilience group were less likely to have returned to work/school (OR, 3.25; 95% CI, 1.71-6.19), more likely to report chronic pain (OR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.54-4.30) and more likely to screen positive for PTSD (OR, 2.96; 95% CI, 1.58-5.54). CONCLUSION Patients with low resilience demonstrated worse functional and psychosocial outcomes 6 months after injury. These data suggest that screening for resilience and developing and deploying early interventions to improve resilience-associated traits as soon as possible after injury may hold promise for improving important long-term functional outcomes. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Prognostic, level II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-789
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Trauma
  • long-term outcomes
  • resilience


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